Rescuers aid suspect after escape into chilly Columbia River

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WENATCHEE — Police and multiple rescue agencies helped bring a man out of the Columbia River in Wenatchee Friday morning, after he jumped into the frigid water while allegedly fleeing the scene of an assault.

Jose Gomez, 23, of Sedro-Woolley has lived in the Wenatchee area for four to five months, said Wenatchee Police Capt. Brian Chance. He allegedly entered the Lighthouse Ministries service center about 9 a.m. despite having been trespassed for previous misbehavior there, Chance said.

At the Lighthouse, Gomez allegedly assaulted a staffmember, leaving the victim with bruises. When police arrived, he fled on foot and slid down a steep embankment along South Worthen Street near Thurston Street.

Chance said Gomez then clung to a tree branch in the river while police tried to reason with him. Chelan County Fire District 1 and Douglas County Fire District 2 came to help bring Gomez up from the river by rope once he submitted to arrest about 10 a.m. He was handcuffed and taken by ambulance for medical treatment.

Police plan to seek charges including second-degree burglary for entering the Lighthouse after his trespass; simple assault on the staffmember; third-degree assault for struggling with police; resisting arrest; methamphetamine possession; and felony harassment for allegedly threatening medical staff while he was treated at Central Washington Hospital.